Commission proposal to remove obstacles to free flow of data

Ministry of Transport and Communications
Publication date 19.10.2017 13.47
Press release

The Finnish Government supports the proposal of the European Commission concerning free movement of data within the EU. The aim is to promote efficient utilisation of data and improve the functioning and transparency of the internal market. The Regulation does not apply to movement of data between the EU and third countries.

On 13 September the Commission gave a proposal for a Regulation aimed to remove obstacles to free movement of data within the EU and make it easier to port data between service providers' systems. The Regulation does not apply to personal data referred to in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

As to the any restrictions concerning data localisation the Commission proposes that in the future such restrictions could only be set on the grounds of public security and Member States are required to notify the Commission of any such measures. To ensure access to data for competent authorities the Commission proposes that single points of contact should be set up in Member States. The Regulation would not establish any new powers to the authorities regarding access to data, but this would continue to be based on the relevant specific rules.

The Government supports the Commission proposal concerning free flow of data on the internal market and removal of unjustifiable obstacles. The Government considers that the proposed rules are significant as a matter of principle and they have a key role in increasing legal certainty. However, the Government considers it important that derogation from the principle of free movement will be allowed on the grounds of public security.

The Government sees the rules concerning the portability of data as important for the development of the data economy and supports the view that the portability of data could primarily be improved through service providers' own actions.

The Government supports the Commission proposal as a whole, provided that there is no over-regulation and the value added to be achieved is maximised. In the new Regulation special consideration should be given to the EU regulatory framework concerning the protection of personal data and data security.

The obstacles we now have to free movement of data include the rules on the provision of data storage or processing services and their location. In the private sector obstacles may also be created due to legal, technical or contractual reasons.

The Commission proposal on free flow of data is related to the Digital Single Market Strategy of the Commission and the Commission Communication "Building a European Data Economy". The proposal also supports the Government's key project concerning the building of a digital environment.

Tuomas Kaivola, tel. +358 50 525 8367